WHEELING W.Va. (WRTF) Schools across the state are using this unique tool to get an important message across to their students.

To provide kids with the opportunity to experience various driving conditions, scenarios, and hazards, the West Virginia Alcohol Beverage Control Administration offers a DUI Simulator Program.   

This eye-opening experience allows drivers to feel and see the impact alcohol can have on your motor skills.  

Wheeling Park High School’s Drivers Ed Instructor Keith Phillips says this is an extremely important lesson that he simply can’t teach. He says the simulator helps get the point across to these new drivers.   

“A lot of times kids are sitting in their seats, like we were when we their age and they’re thinking it’s ‘never going to happen to me, there is no way, that’s not me.’ Then suddenly you find yourself in a situation that is not good.”

Keith Phillips, Drivers Ed Instructor at Wheeling Park High School

According to the CDC, almost one in three traffic deaths in the United States involve a driver with a blood alcohol level concentration of 0.08% or higher.   

Phillip’s drivers ed students say that they are aware of this issue.   

I think some kids think that it’s cool to do stuff like that, but it’s really not cool at all. It’s very dangerous. Don’t drink and drive.

Will James, Junior

I think a lot of students do it and get away with it. I think it should be talked about more and these things should happen at all high schools.

MaKiyah Strothers, Junior 

Dan Pickens is the DUI Simulator Program Coordinator. He says he travels all over the state to help better educate and inform drivers about this issue. 

DUI Simulator

We’ve put this together to give kids a safe and disarming way to address drinking and driving. Kids are more likely to be open and communicate with you if they’re comfortable. This thing does that disarming and makes them comfortable.  

The real telltale is during. The shock and the actual reaction that are happening, it is a simulation, but their reactions are real.

Dan Pickens, DUI Simulator Program Coordinator

The driving simulator mimics the difficulties drivers will encounter at various blood alcohol content levels.   

The students say that it seems so real. The graphics and jolts that the simulator gives make your stomach drop.

Towards the beginning it was normal like how you drive but as you kept going it, the steering wheel got harder to turn and there were more distractions. It made it harder to focus.

Jared Marsh, Sophomore

It’s actually a really scary thought to think that that could happen in real life. I think it was important for us as young adults learning how to drive and really starting to have those responsibilities to understand the consequences and driving under the influence.

Payton Nickerson, Junior  

This preventative demonstration can be a valuable tool to combat drinking and driving. Phillips says that hopefully teaching from the beginning will lower the number of incidents.   

The DUI Simulator Program also includes a classroom lecture. For more information on drinking and driving you can head to DUI Simulator – WV ABCA.